An Ogre at Jingu!
Murton’s Unbelievable .636 Average Aided by 3 Hit (2 RBI) Night
Could it be the “Umaibo Effect” once again? Matt Murton went 3-for-3 in putting on yet another Moda (hard hitting) Show. The mark he has left on enemy turf has left the crowd silent and has him playing in a league of his own.
“I just want to win. I’m glad I performed well but it’s too bad we lost.”
Murton gave the Tigers the lead in the first inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, he hammered the first pitch he saw from Swallows’ starter Muranaka. He made good contact on a forkball high in the strike zone, and the ball landed in shallow center field. Imanari scored easily from first, and took a quick 1-0 lead.
“I just wanted to be aggressive up there. His forkball floated a little and I simply couldn’t pass on it. I was glad to be able to score us a run.”
In the fourth, he hit a double to right center. In the sixth he hit one to left, and for the 14th time this season, he collected a modasho. But that wasn’t all. In the seventh, he walked, and in the ninth he hit a sacrifice fly to center. Even when he wasn’t getting base hits, he was doing the small things right. He extended his lead for the batting title and is now hitting .346 on the year, while second place Luna is at .336.
For some reason, Murton’s best hitting has not come at home, the sacred grounds of high school baseball, but on the road at university baseball’s holy grounds. So far this season at Jingu, Murton is hitting .636 (21 for 33) with 4 home runs and 17 runs batted in. Not the kind of inspired hitting you would expect from someone who never experienced the excitement the national university baseball tournament at Jingu.
“I don’t know how to explain it. I’m just trying to hit aggressively when they throw me good stuff. Everything seems to be going my way here.”
This past series at Jingu was the icing on the cake. In the three game series, Murton went 7 for 9 (.778) with a home run and 5 RBIs. Before the first two games, while fielding balls in left before the game, a fan gave him an “Umaibo.” To show his appreciation, he ate it right in front of the fans.
“It’s good stuff,” said Murton. The team might have lost, but Murton is playing like a man determined to win.